A 14-year-old girl bicycling home was led onto the freeway by her GPS smartphone app Tuesday morning, which resulted in an escort off the interstate by the state patrol.
The girl was pedaling on the shoulder of eastbound Interstate 94 in St. Paul shortly after 8 a.m. when people started calling police, KARE 11 says.
The state patrol caught up to her a few minutes later and escorted her off the freeway at the Cretin Avenue exit, KSTP says. She told officials she was following the route Google Maps told her to take.
The trooper also called the girl's parents.
State Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Tiffani Nielson told the Pioneer Press it's unusual to see a teenager biking down the highway, noting sometimes hitchhikers and adult cyclists will take the chance on the interstate because it's the most direct route.
It may be the most direct route, but it's illegal – freeways are restricted to motorized vehicles only, Nielson told the newspaper.
In most cases cyclists are given a warning to get off the road, but they can be cited. The cost of a ticket for riding a bicycle on the interstate varies by county, but ranges between $125-$145, Nielson tweeted.
But that didn't stop someone else from cycling down the freeway Wednesday morning, when a state trooper caught up to a man, believed to be in his 20s or 30s, before he hopped the fence on the freeway and rode away, the Star Tribune says.
A note for Google Maps users: The app has a feature to get directions for cyclists, which gives routes that avoid interstates and sticks to bike-friendly trails (although it might add some time to your trip).
The Minnesota Department of Transportation also has bicycling maps on its website. Click here to plan your route.
Although the number of people commuting on bicycles has increased in recent years, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) notes there hasn't been a significant increase in serious injuries or fatalities.
Every year in Minnesota, about 10 bicyclists are killed as a result of collisions with motor vehicles, the DPS says.